In spite of all the accolades that he has won over the years, the summer of 2016 will always be considered the year in which Cristiano Ronaldo truly entered the annals of all time football greats. As he collects another award for being the best player in Europe one must consider the fact that we may still have not given him the credit that he truly deserves. So is Cristiano Ronaldo the most underrated footballer ever?
118 goals in 292 matches for Manchester United. 360 goals in 343 matches for Real Madrid. 56 goals in 125 matches for Portugal. A career total of 534 goals in 760 matches for club and country. A three time Premier league champion with Manchester United. A La Liga champion with Real Madrid.
A two time Champions league winner. A four time European Golden Shoe winner. A three time Balon d’Or winner. No one has scored more hattrciks in La Liga. No has scored more goals in a single Champions League campaign. No one has scored more goals for Real Madrid.
And my personal favorite statistic, he is the only person to score a goal in EVERY minute of a game!
In spite of all this, there are many who don’t hold Cristiano Ronaldo in the same regard as some of the previous greats of the game.
Public Image ?
“He is arrogant”, “He is a selfish player”, “He is not a team player”, “He is vain” and “He cares more about his hairstyle than his team mates” are some of the most common complaints that people have against him.
Tell me one thing, if a football player is scoring at a goal ratio of MORE than one per game, does it really matter if he styles his hair every once in a while? If he scores more than 50 goals for six successive seasons, does it matter if he is selfish? Does it really? (Cristiano Ronaldo the most underrated footballer)
When he won the Champions League last year, people criticized his extravagant celebration. People forgot that Ronaldo was one of the principle reasons why Real Madrid reached the final in the first place. No one scored more goals than him in the Champions League last year. He was the one who scored that hat trick to propel Madrid past Wolfsburg in the quarter finals.
Three goals and three assists in the Euros was not enough for people to give him credit for Portugal’s Euro triumph. He scored a brace in their do or die final group match to qualify for the knockout stage. He scored and assisted in the semi final against Gareth Bale’s Welsh side in the semi finals. And his inspirational touchline antics in the final was there for all to see.
So why the hate?
Big Match Player !
For a long time, there was another common myth that, “He doesn’t perform when the team requires him in the biggest matches “. Well he obliterated that myth half a decade ago. Champions League final 2008. Copa Del Ray Final 2012.
Goals in six consecutive Champions League Quarter finals. He demolished Bayern Munich 2013 Semifinal. 14 goals in the last 20 matches vs Barcelona.
The list goes on, punctuated by a couple of sensational virtuoso performances. His hat trick vs Sweden in that Do or Die World Cup qualifying match. And more recently, his inspirational performance against Wolfsburg at the Santiago Bernabeu. These are the performances of a champion player and not that of a bottler.
Unfortunately for Cristiano, he is playing at a time when probably the greatest player the world has ever seen is also at the peak of his powers. (Cristiano Ronaldo the most underrated footballer)
Never in the history of sport has two of the all-time greats existed together at the peak of their powers. Pele and Maradona were in different generations.
Zidane and Ronaldo were different types of players. Tendulkar and Bradman never played at the same time. Tyson and Ali never happened. Federer and Borg never happened. LeBron and Jordon never happened. But Messi vs Ronaldo does.
Two of the Greatest at the same time !
They have monopolized the Balon d’Or between them. They have redefined what a goal scorer should be like. There was time when a 40 goal haul for a player was celebrated as an outstanding achievement. Messi and Ronaldo have scored over 50 goals a season for half a decade.
Had Messi not been there, who knows how many times Cristiano Ronaldo would have won the Balon d’Or.
But one thing is for certain, he definitely would have been spoken about in the same breath as Pele and Maradona. It’s just not fair. Because he is one of the greatest Manchester United players of all time, arguably the greatest Real Madrid player of all time and certainly the greatest Portuguese player of all time.
He is Cristiano Ronaldo the most underrated footballer in history.